When Saturday Night Live announced its newest cast members earlier this season, there was some not-so-surprising news: For the sixth year in a row, the legendary sketch comedy show would not feature any black female cast members. And this week it got a whole lot worse. Reports TV Guide:
Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members, [cast member Kenan] Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. ‘It’s just a tough part of the business,’ Thompson says. ‘Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.
Thompson’s comments, eerily reminiscent of Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” gaffe, have sparked some excellent articles defending the comedic chops of black women. Check out this one by comic Erica Watson detailing how Thompson’s views are symptomatic of black male comics “throwing black women under the bus” to get ahead, or this article in The Grio and this article in Jet by Kyra Kyles.
So, instead of repeating what has already been said, here’s the beginning of a simple list of 20 black women comics on Twitter who prove that black women are funny. Who would you add to the list? Join the conversation on Twitter at #blackwomenarefunny
- Living legend Whoopi Goldberg needs no introduction. The groundbreaking comedian/actress/writer who can now be seen on The View, has been in the business for decades and, like a fine wine, is only improving with age.
- Wanda Sykes is hilarious. From her side-splitting standup to her TV show to her film career, the versatile comic is smart and on target with her witty pop culture analysis. Check her new show, aptly titled Herlarious.
- Biracial Maya Rudolph parlayed her stint as one of the four black women to ever star on SNL into becoming a smart, sexy box-office lead with the film Away We Go, the TV sitcom Up All Night and other projects.
- Franchesca Ramsey (aka Chesca Leigh) became famous for her viral web series S**** White Girls Say to Black Girls on her YouTube channel. Smart, young and funny, she has an original voice all her own.
- Erica Watson is a comic, writer and film director whose one-woman show Fat Bitch garnered rave reviews.
- Nene Lekes rose to fame on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and was hand-picked to star in the hit TV sitcom Glee because of her comedic chops.
- Jessica Williams cut her teeth on Nickelodeon and is now a correspondent on The Daily Show—giving us another reason to love Jon Stewart.
- Tracee Ellis Ross is a writer and comedic actress best known for her role on Girlfriends and now Reed Between The Lines.
- One of the hardest working people in the business, Tia Mowry of Sister Sister, The Game, Tia and Tamera and now Instant Mom, is a veteran TV and film comedic actor.
- Laverne Cox made history by becoming the first transgender actress of color to star in a mainstream scripted TV show. She has won awards for her work acting in film, television, and producing. And she is fuunnnnny.
- Retta of Parks and Recreation was so funny the producers turned a hit guest spot into a recurring season regular. Work it!
- Issa Rae became famous as the creator/star of the viral web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, just picked up for a development deal by HBO.
- The hilarious Loni Love began her career on VH1 and is now the best reason to tune into Chelsea Lately on E.
- Yvette Nicole Brown is a comedic actor who has appeared in The War At Home, Malcolm in the Middle, That’s So Raven and the U.S. version of The Office, and now stars in Community.
- Marina Franklin is a gifted comic who has been seen on Showtime’s Women Who Kill, Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show, The Jay Leno Show, NBC’s Last Comic Standing Season II, Showtime at The Apollo, Chappelle’s Show, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, and most recently Wanda Syke’s Herlarious.
- Phoebe Robinson is the creator of Blaria, the black Daria. She writes for Glamour.com, contributes to The New York Times and is one of the “Funny Women You Should Be Following On Twitter” according to The Huffington Post.
- Gina Yashere is a UK-based comedian who has been crowned “Best Female Comedian” at the Black Entertainment & Comedy Awards in the UK the past four years. She just released her DVD Laughing To America after being featured in a Showtime special, Skinny Bitch.
- The always real Cathy Lewis runs her own production company, is the subject of a documentary and has appeared on TV shows aired on BET and Nickelodeon.
- Gloria Bigelow is a comedian and professionally trained actor who kicked off the first episode of Wanda Sykes Herlarious and has also appeared in The New York Underground Comedy Festival, Michigan Comedy Fest, the Outlaugh Comedy Festival and the Bridgetown Comedy Festival.
- Second City alum Nyima Funk has appeared on The George Lopez Show, Whose Line Is It Anyway, Girlfriends and Thank God You’re Here, among other TV shows. She is also a writer for comedian Katt Williams.
Hope Wabuke runs a communications company called The WriteSmiths and is director of media & communications for the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction. She is currently at work on a poetry collection about her family’s escape from Idi Amin’s Ugandan genocide. She blogs at hope after yoga and you can follow her on Twitter@HopeWabuke.